UCM Poised To Grow Further

by Sunil Kumar    Mar 27, 2007

Unified communications is a buzzword that has gained ground in the last year. 2007 has seen a spate of announcements with multiple vendors allying in UCM .IBM and Cisco announced plans to deliver a new platform for unified communications and collaboration client development. Based on open technologies like Eclipse and OSGi(Open Services Gateway) initiative, the platform will accelerate application development to enable developers to include communications and collaboration capabilities in solutions.

Nortel and Microsoft had announced an alliance since July last year to create a platform based on Microsoft technologies to provide users with a single interface to meet collaboration challenges. The CEOs of Microsoft and Nortel, Steve Ballmer and Mark Zafirovski have agreed to strengthen the alliance this year and roll out more products for UCM in the next couple of years.

The major components of Microsoft’s platform are Microsoft live communication server 2007, Microsoft office communicator 2007, Microsoft Speech server, Microsoft Live meeting, Microsoft Exchange Server 2007 and Microsoft SharePoint portal 2007 and partner products for different functions.

The Microsoft vision is to provide customers a platform to communicate and collaborate. The major components of Microsoft’s platform are Microsoft live communication server 2007, Microsoft office communicator 2007, Microsoft Speech server, Microsoft Live meeting, Microsoft Exchange Server 2007 and Microsoft SharePoint portal 2007 and partner products for different functions.

Nortel adds that a user using this platform is able to place call or initiate a video conference with partners or peers to connect from any communication device and from any geographic location.

Nortel had introduced a new family of stackable Ethernet routing switches internationally designed for enterprises migrating to voice over Internet Protocol and advanced unified communications applications. Mark Fabbi, VP, Analyst, Gartner, Uxbridge Canada, informs, “Nortel’s price points for enterprise stackables represent a price differential that is 30% to 70% less than typically provisioned Cisco switches”.

Jeffrey Mann, Amsterdam, Netherlands, Bern Elliot and David Mario Smith Research VPs at Gartner add, “IBM and Cisco announced a joint initiative for unified communications and collaboration. IBM and Cisco said they have worked on UCC client technology, using the Eclipse capabilities of IBM Lotus Expeditor.”

They further add, despite this announcement, the main battle for UCC is between IBM and Microsoft. Through this partnership Cisco gains access to IBM sales channel, and IBM gains a partner to help combat Microsoft and its alliance with Nortel.

IBM and Nortel have allied to to help telecom carriers drive network convergence. This claims to give subscribers a voice, data and video communications experience across a wide range of devices and accessed from any network-wireline, wireless or DSL/cable broadband. The agreement builds on an existing relationship that has led to IP Multimedia Subsystems (IMS) carrier customer trials across the globe.